Ask anyone who's building a truck and I bet they'll say it'll be a driver-that's always the goal, right, to keep it simple and enjoy it? But that very seldom happens; either you never get it together tight enough and you always think something's falling off, or you go so overboard that you just can't drive it. That's when you call it art. Keeping that in mind, I was determined to create the happy medium, a driver deluxe.
When I set out to find a clean truck to build, I had an ace up my sleeve: my big sister Carol. She not only knows how to build a hot rod, but she really shines when you want to find that certain classic car or truck, or even if you just need some obscure part-just ask my sister, and I guarantee she'll find it. Big sis Carol and her husband, George, have been tinkering with hot rods ever since I can remember. I knew that when I told her I wanted a '53 or '57 Chevy truck, I'd better be serious, because she would find it.
A few weeks went by before Carol spotted a dusty big-window Chevy cab buried in a garage a couple of blocks from her house. Being the neighborly type, Carol and George went knocking on the door. It just so happened the man had lost interest in the project, and in no time they struck up a deal-a deal I couldn't pass up, as all I had to do was pay the man and figure out how to get all the bits and pieces back home. Of course, it turned out to be a very solid '57 California truck. No motor or trans. All the bodywork was done beautifully. It was painted teal blue; the frame had been meticulously cleaned and set up for a big-block with all the stock suspension rebuilt.
With a clear vision of the deluxe driver I wanted to build, this was a perfect start. Sad to say, though, the teal blue wasn't part of the game plan, and that was the first thing to go. I dropped off the cab, bed, and every other blue piece to Kevin Holme at Uptown Auto Craft in Upland, California. Kevin shaved the badges off the fenders and hood, then patiently shot every single piece of the truck inside and out with Sikkens black.
While the body was in the paint shop, I cut all the stock suspension off and set upon the task of piecing together a solid frame. Armed with a very large pile of CLASSIC TRUCKS magazines, I ordered a Chassis Tech G Body front clip, No Limit four-link rear, Air Ride RidePro kit with tubular A-arms, and Camaro disc rear posi (courtesy of my big sis). I wrangled all the pieces over to Walton Fabrication in Upland to set up and weld. Walton's shop is famous for building frames from scratch, so I was ecstatic when Todd agreed to weld in the clip and the four-link, making sure everything was straight and tight, something that would let us all sleep easy at night.